2016 Day of Dance Choreographers
Ishita Bhattacharya is a professional dancer born and raised in New Jersey. She has been extensively trained in Bharatanatyam, Indian Contemporary Fusion, Hip Hop, gymnastics, and more. Ishita is currently a company member of Sukalyann Dance Entourage, an established internationally performing Indian dance troupe, and a choreographer for UFP Dance Company, one of the East coast’s best Hip Hop teams. She has completed the Dancing to Connect Program at Battery Dance Company, led by artistic director Jonathan Hollander. Ishita's choreography pulls from her different dance trainings to create a unique urban Indian style. As both an Indian classical and urban dancer, Ishita strives to tell classical Indian stories in a more modern, relatable, and relevant way to keep the Indian culture alive and current for her generation. Moreover, Ishita tries to tell these stories in a way that also resonates globally by using Indian and urban dance vocabulary. Ishita’s dancers are of different ethnic, national, and dance backgrounds but they are able to pick up elements of Indian dance storytelling to carry out the true definition of fusion in all aspects. Find out more at ishitab.foliohd.com
Janis Brenner is an award-winning dancer/choreographer/singer/teacher and is Artistic Director of Janis Brenner & Dancers in NYC. Known for her “meticulous artistry” (The Village Voice), she has toured in 35 countries and is recognized as a “singular performer” with a multifaceted artistic range. Ms. Brenner has been a long-time advocate for Women in Dance and was a founding member of The Gender Project in NYC in 2000. Honors/grants include: NY Dance & Performance Award ("Bessie") for her performance in Meredith Monk’s work, Lester Horton Award for Choreography in L.A., NY Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, Fund for US Artists at International Festivals, U.S. State Department, Asian Cultural Council, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, UNESCO, US Embassies in Moscow, Sarajevo, Jakarta and Dakar, and a commission for the interdisciplinary work, The Memory Project, from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work has been commissioned/restaged on more than 50 companies and colleges worldwide and she performed with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble from 1990 - 2005, 2014. Ms. Brenner was with the Murray Louis Dance Company from 1977-84, working with Rudolf Nureyev, Placido Domingo, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Joseph Papp, Bat Sheva Dance Company, and Alwin Nikolais. Janis Brenner & Dancers has performed throughout the U.S., Asia, Russia and Europe and has been presented by leading NY organizations including the Joyce Theater, United Nations, Danspace Project, Harkness Dance Festival. The company is known for its national and international guest residencies as well as its “emotionally authentic” and musically diverse work. Lost, Found, Lost won a Copperfoot Award from Wayne State U. in Detroit. Brenner has been on faculty at The Juilliard School since 2009. www.janisbrenner.com
Harika Chatpalli started learning dance from Guru Kantham Chatlapalli at the age of 3 and completed her graduation or “Rangapravesam” in Kuchipudi Indian dance in 2003. Her career as a dancer over the past 18 years has involved recognition as both a professional dancer and choreographer at various competitions, in several cultural & community events, and by Fox Network’s, So You Think You Can Dance. She has performed at events around the US, Europe, and India and is a guest teacher and choreographer at her mother’s dance school, Natyanikethan, in New York. Harika is an Honorable Mention recipient of the National Foundation for the Advancement of Arts and received the Folk Arts Apprenticeship in Indian Classical dance from the New York State Council on the Arts. Most recently her work, Navarasa: The Nine Universal Emotions was featured in a production by the JP Dance Company. Harika graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008 and served as the head choreographer of the University’s fusion dance troupe, Tanah. In addition to learning Indian classical dance, Harika has trained in hip-hop and ballet.
Delhi Dance Theater
Emily Mcloughlin is a dancer, choreographer and teacher from Surrey, UK. She holds a Diploma in Theater Dance from London Studio Centre in the UK and continued her training at the Jose Limon Institute’s Professional Studies Program in New York City. After moving to India in 2009 she began to study the north Indian classical dance form, Kathak under Chetna Jalan at Padatik. In 2011 Emily co-founded Delhi Dance Theater (DDT) with Leah Raphael Curtis and Lydia Walker. With DDT she has choreographed, produced and performed throughout India and in NYC. Performances include Beneath The Tamarind Tree, Tongue Tied, Not Your Mothers, Brooklyn Looks East and Beneath The Burka. DDT’s work has been presented at the India Habitat Center, New Delhi, The Garden of Five Senses, New Delhi, Alliance de Francaise, Chandigargh and the LTG Auditorium, New Delhi, in India and for GAP First Look, Erasing Borders Festival of Dance and Pioneer Works in NYC. Most recently Emily worked in collaboration with members of the Brooklyn Raga Massive to curate an evening of dance and live music, titled Ragas in Motion at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NYC.
Roshni Samlal (tabla) is a New York–based tabla player who hails from the West Indies, where she was initiated into the ancient tradition of Indian classical music by her vocalist father. She has continued her tutelage in the Benares style of tabla playing under Shri Tapan Modak and is currently a student of the epic Farukhbad exponent Pt. Anindo Chatterjee. While her passion is Indian classical tabla, she has played folk, jazz, and other genres. Samlal has performed at notable local venues such as Pianos, The Knitting Factory, The Bitter End, The Shrine, and Tea Lounge. Roshni is a member of the Brooklyn Raga Massive an Indian music collective based in NYC and the co founder of Orakel, a band that explores electronic music in tandem with classical instruments from India and Africa.
For more info visit www.delhidancetheater.com & brooklynragamassive.com.
Amanda Edwards is from Mount Vernon, NY. She began her training at The Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she participated in the Community Program, Summer Programs, and the Pre-Professional Program. She attended Earl Mosely Institute of the Arts during the summers of 2013 and 2014. She graduated from The University of the Arts with honors in May 2015. She has worked with choreographers such as Iquail Shaheed, Jen McGinn, Olivier Tarpaga, Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Kim Bears-Bailey and Meredith Rainey. More info at amandaleee.com.
Jaclyn Gary is a young dancer and aspiring choreographer. She has trained in many styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, and urban styles (popping, locking, breaking, house, walking/dancing in heels, and vogue). Jaclyn spends her time training at the Funktion Dance Complex in Edison, NJ and at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Apart of Beat Club Crew, she travels to perform at various conventions, including World of Dance in the spring of 2016. Jaclyn also attends Princeton Day School where she has been given the Assistant Choreographer position for the school’s productions of Once Upon A Mattress and The Boy Friend, both of which received awards from Paper Mill Playhouse. Her choreography style can be described as contemporary with urban influences, such as isolations and popping, creating more dynamic within her work. Jaclyn also works with metaphors in her choreography to strengthen her connection with the audience. She is working to fuse movement with nature; to leave the confines of the mirror. Her growing love for the outdoor world drives her to bring dance to places where it’s unexpected. In college, Jaclyn hopes to double major in dance along with a natural or behavioral science, and to find a way to tie these two passions of her’s together.
Ariel Rivka Dance (ARD) is an all-female contemporary dance company led by married choreographer/composer team Ariel Grossman and David Homan based in NY/NJ. Named one of Jersey (New) Moves Emerging Choreographers, ARD was recently presented at NJPAC, Rutgers University, the White Wave Rising Series and Inaugural Solo/Duo Festival and Fall Further at Dixon Place. Upcoming performances include REVERBDance Festival and tours to Houston and. Baltimore. www.ArielRivkaDance.com
Maré Hieronimus is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary dance artist, performer and teacher whose work weaves together her interests in movement, light, sound, the visual language, and perceptual awareness. As an interdisciplinary dance artist, she works across media, including in video, photography, voice, as well as sound scoring, all towards the creation of her body-based work. Her performance environments have been presented both indoor and outdoor, in proscenium, gallery and site-specific settings widely in NYC, regionally, and beyond, including through the chashama Summer Performance Series, wild project through the CURRENT SESSIONS, Triskelion Arts Split Bill, The 92nd Street Y, and The Reverb Festival. Her work has been presented regionally at Dance Place (Washington DC), The Goose Route Dance Festival (West Virginia), The Wassaic Project Arts Festival (Wassaic, NY), The Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (Michigan), Cultivate Contemporary Dance Festival (New Hampshire) and PERFORMATICA Dance Festival (Cholula, Mexico). She is the recipient of a 2016 Playa Summer Lake Artist Fellowship (OR), a 2015 Djerassi Artist in Residence (CA), and a 2014-2015 E|MERGE Artist in Residence at Earthdance (MA), and has been a guest-teaching artist at Bucknell University (Lewiston, A), University of Maryland College Park (College Park, MD), and The Isadora Dance Festival (Krasnoyarsk, Siberia), among other locations. Maré received her BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design, her MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence, and is a Certified Movement Analyst through the LIMS. She is also a certified Yoga Teacher, Ayurvedic Counselor, and is continuing her studies in core shamanism with various teachers, healers, and practitioners. www.marehieronimus.com
Laura Katz is an Assistant Professor in Temple University’s Department of Dance, located within the University’s Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts. Certified in the Vaganova syllabus and the American Ballet Theater’s National Training Curriculum, she studied ballet at the schools of The Maryland Youth Ballet, The Chicago City Ballet, The San Francisco Ballet, The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and The Houston Ballet. By age twelve, she had danced with The Joffrey Ballet and New York City Ballet and went on to perform with several classical ballet and contemporary dance companies, including: Ballet South, the Donetsk Ballet/Russian Ballet of Delaware, the Pennsylvania Ballet, The Ballet Theatre of New Mexico, New Mexico Ballet Company, Dance Theatre X, Opus I Contemporary and Sprezzatura Dance Ensemble. Dr. Katz has a BA in History and English, an Ed. M. in Dance, and a Ph. D. in Dance and Women’s Studies. She has written for dance publications such as Dance Chronicle, Playbill Magazine, and Critical Correspondence: Movement Research Journal and collaborated with The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, WRTI Radio, History Making Productions, and Dance Teacher Magazine, as well as presented papers, lectures, choreographic work and master classes at significant conferences, and renowned universities and dance companies around the world. Katz was the 2012 recipient of Temple University’s Teacher of the Year Award, the Choreoplan 2013 international choreographic commission and a 2015 Presidential Award in the Arts and Humanities. In Fall 2013, she created an evening length ballet danced to Phoebus and Pan, in collaboration with a full concert choir and Baroque orchestra. Her book, “Dancing the Fairy Tale: Producing and Performing “The Sleeping Beauty,” was published in January 2015 and her essay, “Ricki Starr’s Ironic Performances of the Queer Commodity in Popular Entertainment,” will be published in the forthcoming Routledge collection, Wrestling and Performance. Dr. Katz has held permanent positions in both higher education and with ballet schools and companies across the United States. More at laurakatzrizzo.com.
Fatima Logan-Alston studied at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA) where she graduated Summa Cume Laude with a BFA in Dance and Choreography. She danced professionally with the African-American Dance Ensemble directed by Dr. Chuck Davis, Forces of Nature Dance Theater directed by Abdel Salaam, and the Seewe Dance Company directed by Mouminatou Camara. She has extensive teaching experience as artist in residence at Hunter College and Long Island University. She has been a teaching artist with Bronx Children’s Museum and Master Class I teacher at the Steffi Nossen School of Dance. She has performed with Bobby Sanabria, Paul Winters, Ntozake Shange, and has received written recognition for her commitment to dance education from Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor. She is currently a teaching artist with Young Audiences New York. Her work has been performed nationally at venues including Paramount Theater (Boston,MA), Dogtown Theater (Richmond, VA), Riverside Theater (NY), Ailey Citigroup Theater, Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance (NY) and Asbury Temple (Durham, NC). More information at vashtidancetheater.com.
Boroka Nagy is a dancer, choreographer, and multimedia artist born in Budapest, Hungary. After cultivating her art in New York City, she moved to Southern California to continue to research dance-film and choreography. In 2015, Boroka received her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of California- Irvine. Her dance training consists of prestigious dance academies such as The Fame School and the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program in NYC. Boroka has performed in many legendary dance spaces in NYC, including The Apollo Theater, the 92nd Street Y, and The Merce Cunningham Studio. She has danced in works by Bertram Ross, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Robert Battle, Milton Myers, Desmond Richardson, Dwight Rhoden, and many more. In 2011, she performed Alvin Ailey's Memoria with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center. Boroka continues to perform internationally as a freelance artist, and her choreography and screendance works have appeared across the U.S.A. and Europe at various festivals, museums, and experimental spaces.
In 2016, Boroka founded Re:borN Dance Interactive, a contemporary dance company that challenges the conventional audience-dancer relationship and explores the interconnectedness of movement, emotions, and identity. More information can be found at www.borokanagy.com and www.reborndance.org.
Blythe E. Smith began dancing at the age of three in South Jersey. Her training includes the Atlantic City Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, Columbia City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Intensive,The Rock School for Dance Education Intensive, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Intensive. Blythe was offered scholarships to attend Joffrey Ballet, Boston Conservatory, and SUNY Purchase. She attended The University of the Arts on scholarship and graduated with a BFA in Ballet Performance in 2004. She was offered a trainee position with Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, MS in 2005. Her performance credits include Regional and National Dance America Festivals and soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Paquita, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, and The Sleeping Beauty, all performed at The Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, PA. Blythe was a member of Alchemy Dance Company for seven years and danced several performances of new work throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. She danced extensively in a touring Tina Turner Review show entitled Simply the Best for four years. Blythe was a member of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble for five years in which she also choreographed for the company and taught on faculty for the Danse4Nia Conservatory. As a part of D4N she danced in performances such as Thelma Hill Dance Festival and Pentacle Dance Works. Blythe has been a dancer with DanceSpora, under the direction of Heidi Cruz-Austin, for three years. In the Summer of 2012, Blythe completed the Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop at Alvin Ailey. In May 2016, Blythe graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Temple University. She is now presenting choreographic works in Philadelphia as well as designing new curriculums. In Summer 2014, her pas de deux, Pales in Comparison was performed at the Koresh Come Together Festival. She is a dance instructor and choreographer for several studios throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has worked in the Philadelphia school system under the organization PAEP, Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership. She also has choreographed contemporary solos and acted as a coach for students training for YAGP. In addition to teaching, Blythe has worked counseling young dancers for Ballet organizations including CPYB, Ballet Magnificat, and American Ballet Theater. Blythe is the Associate Artistic Director and founder of Magnolia Hill Studios:Art and Dance, a studio dedicated to sharing a love of the visual and performing arts with children. She has choreographed and directed eight full-length shows for MHS and helps direct the community outreach portion of the studio. In January of 2015, Blythe had the opportunity to set a piece entitled, Watermark on Pennsylvania Ballet 2. It was commissioned specifically for the program One Book, One Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Public Library. Blythe was a recipient of the Temple University Project Completion Grant to complete her MFA thesis concert, Kairos. She received the Rose Veronica Choreography Award for her overall achievement during her time at Temple.
Meggi Sweeney Smith was born in Carrollton, MO and began dancing at the age of ten in her hometown studio. She attended the MO Fine Arts Academy in 2001 and continued her interdisciplinary and collaborative interests while obtaining her BFA in dance and minor in music at the University of Kansas. While there she received the Undergraduate Research Award for her work in the field of dance history, as well as the School of Fine Arts Collaborative Initiative Award and an honorable mention for the Sara and Mary Edwards Paretsky Award for Creativity. Meggi performs as a soloist in historic modern dance, world dance fusions, and historic Baroque dance. She currently dances with several companies such at the Sokolow Dance/Theater Ensemble and the New York Baroque Dance Company and has done work by artists such as José Limón, Wally Cardona, Patrick Corbin, and more. In 2015 Meggi graduated with her MA in Dance Education from New York University. She currently teaches as an adjunct professor at New York University as well as William Paterson University and was recently commissioned to choreograph a work for Noree Performing Arts show at Poet’s Den Theater and Gallery. For more information please see www.MeggiSweeney.com.
Maxine Steinman a performer, teacher, and choreographer spanning over 25 years, has presented her choreography in numerous festivals and venues such as Joyce Soho, The 92ndStreet Y Harkness Dance Festival, the Westfest Dance Festival, the American Dance Guild Festival, DUMBO, the Battery Dance Festival, and Making Moves Festival, as well as others. She has traveled to Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Italy, and Cyprus to teach, choreograph, and perform her work. Jack Anderson and Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times have called her choreography “ingenious” and a “jewel” and in 2009 and 2011, she was awarded grants from the O'Donnell-Green Foundation for Music and Dance. Over the past 18 years, Maxine has created works for colleges and conservatories in the US and abroad at places like Montclair State University, Hofstra University, Marymount Manhattan College, the Ailey School, Institute del Teatre, Centro Andaluz de Danza, and University of Colima. Maxine was a soloist with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company for 12 years and has also performed with Denishawn Repertory Dancers, Mafata Dance Company, Robin Becker, Regina Larkin, Sue Bernhard, Spiritdance, Danceimprints, and in the LINKs project with the José Limón Dance Company, among others. Maxine holds a BFA in dance from Adelphi University, an MA in Dance and Dance Education from Teachers College Columbia University, and an MFA in Dance/Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts. Maxine is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Program Coordinator of the BFA Dance Division at Montclair State University. Learn more at www.maxinesteinman.com.
Harlee Trautman is a movement artist and sculptor currently residing in Philadelphia, PA, though most of her artistic career was spent in Southern Louisiana, where she received her BFA. Harlee is an active member of the freelance artist community. She teaches both studio art and dance in several schools in the Philadelphia region. In the near future, Harlee will be performing at the Philadelphia Academy of Music during Opera Philadelphia’s run of “Turandot.” Her most recent artistic creation can be found with a quick visit to Philadelphia Airport’s D terminal.
Blakeley White-McGuire is an award-winning, critically acclaimed Dance artist and teacher who holds an MFA in interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, Vermont. As a Principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company (2002 - 2016) she has danced on the world’s greatest international stages including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, Beijing Opera House, Le Chatelet, Paris, Sadler’s Wells, London, Vatican City, Rome and the Herodion in
Athens, Greece. Currently, Blakeley collaborates with multi-disciplinary artists in Performance Research through the inter-generational salon, Open for Transmission. She teaches Modern Dance technique and repertory at New York’s famed High School for the Performing Arts and is a member of the Seeing Red task force which continues its research into the Dance of Destiny: An Archetypal Redefinition of the Feminine. Artist’s statement: My dance practice intersects theatrical ritual, contemporaneous performativity, traditional engagement with repertory and individual choreographic experimentation. Through these forms and others, I offer my expressions of grace, strength and presence. I strive to embody these states of being as a mirror for my audience that they may have the time to also recognize and/or acknowledge these qualities in themselves. More about Blakeley and her work at www.blakeleyarts.com.
Hee Ra Yoo was born, raised, and educated in South Korea. Longing to experience the world from a young age, she moved to Russia in her twenties and have continued traveling thereafter, living in and visiting Australia, America, Vienna, Austria. Her upbringing and international travels helped her become trilingual, speaking Korean, English, and Russian. She has also trained across disciplines, from the structure of traditional ballet to the breathing techniques in Taekwondo. Her experience living in different cultures and learning different languages and movement practices, merged with her own Korean heritage has a powerful influence in her choreographic work. Dance has the beautiful capability to celebrate the joy of the human experience. As an artist, she creates choreography reflective of her own cross-cultural experience. Dance is a strong communicator, breaking language and cultural barriers. It combines the body, mind, and soul to create a meaningful vocabulary which communicates with the audience in a powerful way. For this reason, dance is a universal language that everyone can understand. As a choreographer, she delivers a unique experience of dance by utilizing her own life experience to create meaningful art. By blending inspiration from cultures all over the world, Yoo and Dancers, highlights the interactions and intermingling of people in everyday life through various forms of movement. More at www.yooanddancers.weebly.com.